It was a night of glitz and a walk into the past as the Federation of Tourism Associations Nigeria (FTAN) honoured its pioneer members and past leaders with tourism merit awards. The federation equally honoured certain individuals that have made immense contributions to the development of Nigerian tourism.
The award recipients include Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture and the supervisory minister for tourism; Otunba Segun Runsewe, the Director-General, National Council of Arts and Culture; Chief Mike Amachree (Nigeria’s “father of tourism”; Mr. Goodie Ibru; Chief Samuel Alabi, BOT chairman, FTAN; High Chief Edem Duke; Dr. Franklin Adejuwon; Alhaji Munzali Dantata; Chief Josephine Anenih; Chief Margaret Fabiyi (Webisco); Mrs. Theresa Ezobi; Alhaji Inuwa Wada; Mr. Tukur Mani; Mr. Charles Ukomadu; Mr. Charles Abel, Mr. Tope Ogbeni-Awe; Mr. Ikechi Uko, Mr. Andrew Iro-Okungbowa; and Mr. Lucky George.
Speaking at the occasion, the FTAN president, Alhaji Rabo Saleh, said: “The idea behind this celebration is to appreciate and honour men and women of proven integrity who have laboured so hard to see that the tourism sector and the practitioners in the industry under different associations come together under the umbrella and speak with one voice for the betterment of the industry.”
Saleh said the 20th anniversary was a milestone in the life of the association. He noted that the federation, which kicked off with about 10 member-associations, has grown to about 22 registered professional associations in the different sub-sectors of the tourism industry, including tour operation, aviation, travel, hospitality, transportation and others.
“Furthermore, the ATPN, under my leadership, collaborated with Plateau State government 1990 to organize the Plateau State Tourism Development Fund launching, which was chaired by former head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, and launched by former President Ibrahim Babangida who invited all the state military governors to Plateau State to launch the fund.”
Similarly, one of the awardees and former Minister of State for Agriculture, Dr. Franklin Adejuwon, praised FTAN for organizing the awards. He went down memory lane to talk about the formation of FTAN and the expectations of the pioneer members for the industry. He also used to opportunity to praise the roles played by individuals like Mr. Tukur Mani, Mr. Tope Ogbeni-Awe and Mrs. Teresa Ezobi to make the dream come true.
Runsewe commended the efforts of FTAN and advised them to eschew rancour and work in unity, adding it was the only way to move the industry forward.